Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 9 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 9, all of the happiness we have been experiencing so far immediately turns to terror and confusion. Let’s go!

Everyone heads back to the tents and gets ready to go to bed. Fred and George are very excited about their winnings and all the Irish fans look like they will be celebrating late into the night. Harry does drift off to sleep, the dreams of one day getting to play in the World Cup himself, when he is awoken to the shouts and screaming. Mr. Weasley tells the kids to run out of the tent and go hide in the woods. The cause of all this?

A crowd of wizards, tightly packed and moving together with wands pointing straight upward, was marching slowly across the field. Harry squinted at them . . . They didn’t seem to have faces . . . Then he realized that their heads were hooded and their faces masked. High above them, floating along in midair, four struggling figures were being contorted into grotesque shapes. It was as though the masked wizards on the ground were puppeteers, and the people above them were marionettes operated by invisible strings that rose from the wands into the air. Two of the figures were very small.

They soon see that the floating figures were Mr. Roberts and his family. Mr. Weasley, Bill, Charlie and Percy run off to help while the twins, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny get out of harm’s way. Once in the woods, they run into Draco Malfoy, who sneers at them because that’s what he does. He also threatens Hermione, saying that she needs to keep her head down since the attackers are targeting Muggles. They also run into a group of French teenagers, who Hermione says go to Beauxbatons, another magical school.

The worst part about all this: Harry realizes that he has dropped his wand somewhere. With everything going on, he now feels very vulnerable without a way to magically defend himself. Crashing through the bushes, they see Winky the house elf, running in a strange zigzagging pattern. Harry guesses that she is behaving weird because she didn’t have permission to hide. Hermione takes offense to this.

“You know, house-elves get a very raw deal!” said Hermione indignantly. “It’s slavery, that’s what it is! That Mr. Crouch made her go up to the top of the stadium, and she was terrified, and he’s got her bewitched so she can’t even run when they start trampling tents! Why doesn’t anyone do something about it!”

And thus, the idea for S.P.E.W. is born. Although, now is not really the time, Hermione. Let’s work on surviving the night first.

They run into a group of wizards trying to impress some veela. They run into Ludo Bagman, who doesn’t seem to know what is going on. Then, they hear footsteps and a loud voice shouting, “MORSMORDRE!” A bright green light rises into the air.

For a split second, Harry thought it was another leprechaun formation. Then he realized that it was a colossal skull, comprised of what looked like emerald stars, with a serpent protruding from its mouth like a tongue. As they watched, it rose higher and higher, blazing in a haze of greenish smoke, etched against the black sky like a new constellation.

The appearance of this weird green skull thing is met with terrified screams. The kids are also met with a bunch of apparating wizards ready to stun the perpetrator. Harry and the others duck, but are immediately questioned as to what happened. Mr. Weasley is there, as is Mr. Crouch and several other people from the Ministry, including Mr. Diggory. Hermione explains that the person who said the incantation was behind the trees and they couldn’t see what it was. The stunning spells went into the trees as well, so maybe they got someone.

“Yes! We got them! There’s someone here! Unconscious! It’s — but — blimey . . .”

“You’ve got someone?” shouted Mr. Crouch, sounding highly disbelieving. “Who? Who is it?”

They heard snapping twigs, the rustling of leaves, and then crunching footsteps as Mr. Diggory reemerged from behind the trees. He was carrying a tiny, limp figure in his arms. Harry recognized the tea towel at once. It was Winky.

First off, what the hell is Crouch’s problem? He seems ready to believe that Harry, Ron or Hermione are the ones who caused all this, but then behaves very strangely when Winky is discovered. He doesn’t believe it was Winky and goes to look through the bushes for anyone else. And of course it wasn’t Winky! The voice that cast the spell didn’t sound like a house elf, as Hermione points out. Although house-elves don’t usually carry wands, but Winky had one in her possession – it was Harry’s. She says that she found it. They cast a spell to prove that Harry’s wand was in fact the one that cast the illuminated skull into the air, but determine that Winky must have found the wand after the fact.

Despite this, Crouch is absolutely livid that his house-elf was anywhere near this situation and dismisses her immediately. Winky is devastated, begging Crouch to change his mind, but Crouch is adamant that he distance himself from this whole situation. Mr. Weasley leads the kids away after Harry is given back his wand and we finally learn what’s so terrifying about the skull.

The skull with the snake coming out of it was Voldemort’s symbol, the Dark Mark. It was seen all over when Voldemort rose to power. Whenever his followers, called Death Eaters, killed someone, the symbol hovered over the house. It inspired sheer terror, knowing that if the symbol was there, it was too late to save anyone.

The odd thing? The Dark Mark scared away the wizards in the masks earlier. Voldemort’s supporters loved tormenting Muggles. They thought it was fun. However, if they were Death Eaters, they would be scared of seeing Voldemort come back because they had to betray him in order to avoid staying out of Azkaban. They wouldn’t necessarily be excited to see him if he came back.

Harry feels very strange about all this. Voldemort seems to be everywhere: his scar hurting after the dream, the Death Eaters, the Dark Mark. So many things to wonder and worry about.

See you next time for Chapter 10!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 8 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 8, IT’S THE QUIDDITCH WORLD CUP! Let’s go!

The main thing to know: this stadium is huge! It can seat 100,000 people and Harry says that it looks like “ten cathedrals would fit comfortably inside it.” Which confused me at first – wouldn’t Quidditch pitches have to be a similar, regulation size? I know that’s the case with other sports – football fields, soccer fields, baseball fields, etc. Are all Quidditch fields this large? It doesn’t sound like it.

In any case, the Weasleys are in some of the best seats in the whole place. As Harry goes to sit down, he sees a familiar face. Dobby? Dobby the House Elf? No, not exactly.

“Sorry,” Harry told the elf, “I just thought you were someone I knew.”

“But I knows Dobby too, sir!” squeaked the elf. She was shielding her face, as though blinded by light, though the Top Box was not brightly lit. “My name is Winky, sir — and you, sir –” Her dark brown eyes widened to the size of side plates as they rested upon Harry’s scar. “You is surely Harry Potter!”

Harry Potter: known to house elves everywhere.

Winky has some opinions though. She is highly critical of Dobby, who really thinks highly of himself now, so much so that he’s asking to be paid for his work (*gasp*). Winky is saving seats for her Master, even though she is really afraid of the heights. Tons of important people are sitting in the Top Box with the Weasleys, including . . . the Malfoys. Who are just as obnoxious as ever. They are special guests of the Minister due to their generous donation to the wizard hospital.

But enough of those jerks. We get to see a presentation by the two teams’ countries! Up first: Bulgaria. They brought veela, creatures who look like amazingly beautiful women but who cast a spell on menfolk.

The veela had started to dance, and Harry’s mind had gone completely and blissfully blank. All that mattered in the world was that he kept watching the veela, because if they stopped dancing, terrible things would happen . . .

So they’re sort of like sirens, but on land. And the crowd loves them. Doesn’t want them to leave, until the Irish have their say.

Next moment, what seemed to be a great green-and-gold comet came zooming into the stadium. It did one circuit of the stadium, then split into two smaller comets, each hurtling toward the goalposts. A rainbow arced suddenly across the field, connecting the two balls of light. The crowd ooohed and aaaahed, as though at a fireworks display. Now the rainbow faded and the balls of light reunited and merged; they had formed a great shimmering shamrock, which rose up into the sky and began to soar over the stands. Something like golden rain seemed to be falling from it —

Yeah, in case you couldn’t guess, the Irish brought leprechauns with them who are showering the crowd with gold. A good way to win fans, that.

The teams are announced and the players come out, including the famous Krum. I’m not going to go over the actual game play, but it is a brutal match, full of lots of injuries. Ireland wins, but Krum catches the Snitch to end it. Harry thinks that Krum knew that Ireland’s Chasers were too good and that Krum “wanted to end it on his terms.”

Which also brings us to this funny tidbit:

“Vell, ve fought bravely,” said a gloomy voice behind Harry. He looked around; it was the Bulgarian Minister of Magic.

“You can speak English!” said Fudge, sounding outraged. “And you’ve been letting me mime everything all day!”

“Vell, it vos very funny,” said the Bulgarian minister, shrugging.

Hahahahahahaha. I love when Fudge gets treated like a fool. I really don’t like him.

They bring the players to the Top Box, first Bulgaria, and then Ireland. Everyone is excited and happy, especially the Weasley twins. They are ready to earn some money because remember who bet all their savings that this would be the outcome of the match? That’s right! I see some more Ton Tongue Toffees in the future!

See you next time for Chapter 9!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 7 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 7, we get settled in at the campsite and enjoy the festivities. Let’s go!

I want to go to the Quidditch World Cup so bad! It sounds like so much fun! More than just a sporting event, this is THE sporting event. It’s a festival-like atmosphere and it just sounds incredible.

So they arrive and are directed to their campsite, managed by a Muggled named Roberts who has to constantly have his memory modified by an Obliviate spell in order to not get too suspicious. It’s all been a bit of a hassle for the people in charge of security, and it’s no surprise as to why.

They trudged up the misty field between long rows of tents. Most looked almost ordinary; their owners had clearly tried to make them as Muggle-like as possible, but had slipped up by adding chimneys, or bellpulls, or weather vanes. However, here and there was a tent so obviously magical that Harry could hardly be surprised that Mr. Roberts was getting suspicious. Halfway up the field stood an extravagant confection of striped silk like a miniature palace, with several live peacocks tethered at the entrance. A little farther on they passed a tent that had three floors and several turrets; and a short way beyond that was a tent that had a front garden attached, complete with birdbath, sundial, and fountain.

I wouldn’t mind going camping if I could stay in tents like these! Speaking of tents, the Weasleys have two tents for their very large group of people, but they are thankfully magical tents, which are about the size of a three bedroom apartment on the inside. It’s also really fun to see different wizards from what we are used to. Like very young children with toy broomsticks. Or wizards from other parts of the world, like Africa or America.

Or Ireland, if you are visiting the tents belonging to Seamus Finnigan’s family. All shamrocks, all the time. They are very proud to support their home team in the World Cup. The Bulgarians are also out in full force with their white, green and red flags and posters of their star player:

“Krum!” said Ron. “Viktor Krum, the Bulgarian Seeker!”

“He looks really grumpy,” said Hermione, looking around at the many Krums blinking and scowling at them.

“‘Really grumpy‘?” Ron raised his eyes to the heavens. “Who cares what he looks like? He’s unbelievable. He’s really young too. Only just eighteen or something. He’s a genius, you wait until tonight, you’ll see.”

Ron might be a little bit of a Viktor Krum fanboy. Just a tad.

They run into a bunch of other friends from school: Oliver Wood, Ernie Macmillan, and Cho Chang. They also run into an older wizard who doesn’t understand what’s wrong with his incognito Muggle attire – he’s wearing a lady’s nightgown. Once they get back to their campsite, they get to see several members of the Ministry, all who stop to say hello to Mr. Weasley.

Including Ludo Bagman, Head of the Department of Magical Games, and one of the people supposedly helping to run the World Cup. He used to play professional Quidditch and is walking around in his bright yellow and black stripped Quidditch robes, which is gaining a lot of attention. He also seems very interested in gambling on the outcome of the match, which Mr. Weasley reluctantly does, but the twins are all in. All their pocket money bet on that Ireland will win, but Krum will get the Snitch.

Barty Crouch, Percy’s boss at the Ministry and Head of the International Magical Cooperation office, also shows up. He would easily pass as the most boring of Muggles in his perfect suit and tie and shined shoes. Ludo hints that they have something else big coming up that they are planning, something taking place at Hogwarts, but of course, they won’t give it away just yet.

Souvenir vendors appear all over the place, selling all kinds of things for Ireland and Bulgaria. As the sky darkens, a path lights up, leading the way to the field. It’s on!

See you next time for Chapter 8!

 

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 6 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 6, it’s off to the Quidditch World Cup! Let’s go!

One thing that I am really enjoying is the fact that these first chapters in Goblet of Fire are short! Not much really happens in this chapter – basically, the main “action” is that everyone wakes up and then takes a walk to a hill where their transportation to the Quidditch World Cup pitch awaits. That’s it, really. But still, there’s a lot of interesting information in this chapter that I really enjoy reading, things that make this world even richer and more detailed.

Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys all have to wake up early in order to get to their destination – except for Bill, Charlie and Percy, who are able to Apparate. I can’t remember if we had learned about Apparition before, but it is the ability to basically teleport yourself from one place to another through magic. You have to take a test once you’re of age – Percy just took his and passed. Sort of like taking a test for your drivers license for us Muggles, I’m guessing, only a much more convenient method of travel. It’s not without its dangers though. If you aren’t careful, you can get Splinched.

“They left half of themselves behind,” said Mr. Weasley, now spooning large amounts of treacle onto his porridge. “So, of course, they were stuck. Couldn’t move either way. Had to wait for the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad to sort them out. Meant a fair old bit of paperwork, I can tell you, what with the Muggles who spotted the body parts they’d left behind . . .”

This sounds almost comical, but we learn later in Deathly Hallows that it’s actually quite dangerous and painful. Plus, it would be extremely disturbing to see only part of someone disappear and have random body parts left. I’m way to squeamish for that!

Fred and George also get in trouble, again. They attempted to smuggle some of their creations to the World Cup, but it’s really hard to sneak something past Mrs. Weasley. She confiscates the sweets and throws them away, which of course, Fred and George are not happy about. They spent six months making these! Mrs. Weasley is furious that they wasted their time on this instead of studying for their O.W.L. exams.

Everyone heads out to Stoatshead Hill, the location of the closest Portkey. A Portkey is an object that can be used basically the same way as Apparating, except that it is an item. It is scheduled for a particular time and will transport whoever happens to be touching it. Mr. Weasley goes into detail about how hard the Quidditch World Cup has been to organize, mostly to keep Muggles from finding out about it. Wizards and witches from all over the world are coming, after all. They can’t clog up Muggle transportation or risk Muggles asking questions. There are Portkeys scattered across Britain, each set to go off on a certain schedule. Theirs is an old boot.

At the Portkey, we meet Amos Diggory, the father of Cedric Diggory, the Captain of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team. Cedric is a nice guy (even if Fred and George haven’t forgiven him for beating Gryffindor that one year) but his dad is a bit . . . pompous. Or at least extremely proud of his son. He’s excited to meet the famous Harry Potter, but is even more excited to crow about how HIS son beat Harry.

“Harry fell off his broom, Dad,” he (Cedric) muttered. “I told you . . . it was an accident . . .”

“Yes, but youdidn’t fall off, did you?” roared Amos genially, slapping his son on the back. “Always modest, our Ced, always the gentleman . . . but the best man won, I’m sure Harry’d say the same, wouldn’t you, eh? One falls off his broom, one stays on, you don’t need to be a genius to tell which one’s the better flier!”

Amos Diggory, please shut up before I smack you.

They all gather around the Portkey, as they are the only ones there traveling that way (there are two other wizarding families in the area, but the Fawcetts didn’t get tickets, and the Lovegoods are already there). Traveling by Portkey sounds uncomfortable, feeling as though a hook is pulling through your bellybutton and then slamming you onto the ground. But they made it! On to the festivities!

See you next time for Chapter 7!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 5 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 5, the Weasleys continue to be the absolute best and I am so glad that Harry is with them now. Let’s go!

I will continue to wax poetic in my love for the Weasley family. They are just the most wonderful thing, but I think my favorite thing about them is that, despite this being a fantasy story and the fact that they are indeed a magical family, they are just so . . . normal. Well-meaning parents who love their children, despite being angry or frustrated with them at times. Siblings who are very tight knit, but still get on each others nerves and play pranks. With one glaring exception (I’m looking at you, Percy), this is a group of people who will stick together no matter what and face whatever the world throws at them. I absolutely adore them.

But let’s get to the chapter at hand. Harry arrives at the Burrow and Fred asks about Dudley and the sweet, which Harry confirms that Dudley ate.

“Ton-Tongue Toffee,” said Fred brightly. “George and I invented them, and we’ve been looking for someone to test them on all summer . . .”

We also get to meet the eldest two Weasley brothers, Bill and Charlie. Charlie is the one who works with dragons in Romania who, if you remember, Ron had contacted to make arrangements for Hagrid’s baby dragon, Norbert, to be sent to. Bill, who is way cooler than Harry expected, works for Gringotts and, apparently, his main job is to search for treasure. He’s the one they went to visit in Egypt last summer.

Mr. Weasley finally arrives, after taking care of Dudley’s tongue, which had grown to four feet. He is not happy at all. The Dursleys were horrified and this type of thing makes Mr. Weasley’s job at the Ministry harder, undermining wizard-Muggle relations.

“We didn’t give it to him because he’s a Muggle!” said Fred indignantly.

“No, we gave it to him because he’s a great bullying git,” said George. “Isn’t he, Harry?”

This is actually an important distinction to make. As we learn in later books especially, there are plenty of wizards who flat out hate Muggles because they see them as inferior and would do things to bait them or mess with them (or worse). But that’s not why Fred and George did this to Dudley. Being Muggle had nothing to do with it.

I do think it’s funny that even though Mr. Weasley threatens to tell Mrs. Weasley about what they did, as soon as she walks into the room, he backs off. No one wants to face Molly Weasley’s temper. No one. And she is plenty angry. Enough that Harry, Ron, Ginny and Hermione (who has also arrived to go to the World Cup) feel the need to escape upstairs. They discuss that Fred and George have been doing more than just making explosions in their bedroom – they’ve been inventing things. Mrs. Weasley had found order forms for “Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes” showing where they were hoping to sell their wares at school – “fake wands and trick sweets, loads of stuff.”

Mrs. Weasley wants them to go work for the Ministry, like a respectable wizard, but the twins want to open a joke shop instead. Honestly, I don’t understand why she doesn’t support them in this – they would obviously be brilliant at it and, depending on how well they rolled it out, they could make some serious money. Zonko’s always seems to do pretty well.

We also see Percy, who graduated from Hogwarts last year and is working for the Ministry. He is irritated because they are being noisy and he is working on something for his job. He is also feeling very high and mighty about it, since he obviously knows something that will be happening at Hogwarts, something very big. He also positively worships his new boss to the point of being completely annoying.

Also, the tiny owl that Sirius had given Ron has a name – Pigwidgeon. Pig, for short. A tiny owl named Pig.

They set up for dinner outside, since eleven people won’t fit in the house, and have a wonderful meal of Mrs. Weasley’s cooking. Another thing that I love about these books in general is how they portray women. Hermione is very ambitious, clearly, and wants to have a career somewhere in the wizarding world. In the play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (which I know some people don’t want to take as canon, but it has JKR’s seal of approval, and that’s good enough for me), Hermione actually becomes the Minister of Magic. She is, in many ways, the polar opposite of Mrs. Weasley, who is content to stay at home and take care of her house and family. And you know what? Both of these are portrayed as respectable and honorable in this series. These books don’t try to pigeonhole girls and women into a certain set of roles. They can do anything. It’s really amazing.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

During dinner, they discuss many things about the upcoming Quidditch World Cup, in particular Percy’s distain for the Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports, Ludo Bagman. Ludo Bagman was cut from the movies, and I’m still a little sad about it, but we’ll talk more about him once we actually meet the man. Ludo is a bit disorganized all over the place, which offends Percy to no end. A witch who works in Bagman’s department has been missing for over a month and Bagman hasn’t done anything about it. The witch in question? Bertha Jorkins. You might remember her from the first chapter. We know that she is dead, but no one else does at this point. It’s still a mystery.

During all the commotion at dinner, Ron asks Harry if he had heard from Sirius, which Harry confirms that he has, twice, and Sirius seems to be doing fine so far.

They get ready to go to bed since they have to be up very early to leave in the morning. Mrs. Weasley plans on buying everyone’s school supplies since the last World Cup lasted for five days, and they may not have time to go shopping before school starts if that happens again. Harry thinks that would be amazing and hopes that it happens again.

“well, I certainly don’t,” said Percy sanctimoniously. “I shudder to think what the state of my in-tray would be if I was away from work for five days.”

“Yeah, someone might slip dragon dung in it again, eh, Perce?” said Fred.

“That was a sample of fertilizer from Norway!” said Percy, going very red in the face. “It was nothing personal!”

“It was,” Fred whispered to Harry as they got up from the table. “We sent it.”

Oh, Fred. It’s times like this that I wonder if these sorts of pranks on Percy, who always seems to get dunked on, are what helped him turn his back on his family in later books when things got rough. At the Ministry, he found acceptance. In his family, he seems to be the odd person out constantly. Still doesn’t make it right, but it makes it make sense. Oh, well.

See you next time for chapter 6!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 4 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 4, the Weasleys come to pick up Harry and chaos ensues. Let’s go!

I adore the Weasleys so much. They are my all-time favorite fictional family. No one else even comes close. They are the absolute best.

Harry is all packed up and ready to go. He had told the Dursleys when the Weasleys were coming, and things are pretty tense right now. Uncle Vernon wants to know what type of car they drive (since he’s the type who judges people by how expensive their car is) and Harry doesn’t know. Their last car lives in the Forbidden Forest now, so who knows if they’ve gotten another one. Actually, Harry has no idea how they are coming, and the fact that he can’t tell Vernon that makes Vernon all the more uptight.

I love when the Dursleys are scared. Does that make me a bad person? I just think that they deserve to be as uncomfortable as possible.

Also, Dudley is beyond nervous and actually terrified. He remembers his last encounter with a wizard ended with a pig tail sticking out of his rear end, which then had to be surgically removed. Oh, Hagrid. So yeah, Dudley is spending this entire day with his hands on his behind to protect it.

The time for the Weasleys arrival finally comes . . . and goes. They are late, which really ticks Vernon off. He and Petunia keep looking out the window for a car to pull up when suddenly, there is a large sound coming from the fireplace. The boarded-up fireplace.

“Ouch! Fred, no — go back, go back, there’s been some kind of mistake — tell George not to — OUCH! George, no, there’s no room, go back quickly and tell Ron –”

“Maybe Harry can hear us, Dad — maybe he’ll be able to let us out –”

There was a loud hammering of fists on the boards behind the electric fire.

“Harry? Harry, can you hear us?”

The Weasleys have tried to travel by Floo powder into a fireplace that is boarded up and has an electric fire. And now they are stuck. Harry explains all this to them (Mr. Weasley is very excited to see an electric fire — it has a plug!) and Mr. Weasley has to basically blast them out of the wall. The Dursleys are not amused and, in fact, think that the Weasleys are absolutely crazy. Mr. Weasley, bless him, tries to speak kindly to Dudley, who just whimpers in fright. I think Mr. Weasley probably thinks the Dursleys are just as bizarre as they do of him.

The twins are here, though, and that means there is always time for a prank. As Fred is helping to carry Harry’s trunk, he “accidentally” spills his pocketful of candy. He scoops them all up, but “accidentally” misses one that Dudley, starved from his diet, immediately finds and scarfs down. It is never a good idea to eat something that Fred and George provide. NEVER EVER!

Dudley was no longer standing behind his parents. He was kneeling beside the coffee table, and he was gagging and sputtering on a foot-long, purple, slimy thing that was protruding from his mouth. One bewildered second later, Harry realized that the foot-long thing was Dudley’s tongue — and that a brightly colored toffee wrapper lay on the floor before him.

Vernon and Petunia panic, trying to pull the weird thing out of Dudley’s mouth, which since it’s his tongue, doesn’t work very well. Mr. Weasley tries to help, saying he can fix it, but Vernon doesn’t want any help at this point. He throws a china figure at Mr. Weasley’s head, and Mr. Weasley tells Harry to leave so he can fix everything. And so Harry leaves and heads to the Burrow, ready to spend the rest of his summer with the Weasleys.

See you next time for Chapter 5!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 3 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 3, Harry has a great day at the Dursleys’ house! Let’s go!

It’s not every day that Harry has good experiences with his relatives, but this chapter is just too funny. It starts off in the morning, with Aunt Petunia giving everyone a quarter of a grapefruit for breakfast. See, it turns out that Dudley is on a diet because his school no longer sells uniforms that fit him. And nobody is happy about it. Except maybe Harry, who immediately wrote to his friends once the diet was instituted and received lots of care packages, including four birthday cakes. Take that, Dudley!

They are interrupted by a knock at the door, which Vernon answers and comes back not happy. They received a letter from Molly Weasley. Hi, Molly Weasley! She is writing to invite Harry to come stay with them to go see the Quidditch World Cup. The thing is, she’s never sent a letter the Muggle way and it may have raised some eyebrows at the post office.

He held up the envelope in which Mrs. Weasley’s letter had come, and Harry had to fight down a laugh. Every bit of it was covered in stamps except for a square inch on the front, into which Mrs. Weasley had squeezed the Dursleys’ address in minute writing.

I love her so much. Just think of the Dursleys, with how they worry so much about what people think about them, having to talk to the mailman about why someone would deliver this to them! It’s so funny!

Harry has learned to be a bit manipulative with Vernon, and I have to say, I am a fan. Vernon doesn’t want to say yes to something that will make Harry happy, so Harry just let’s slip that he is finishing a letter to his godfather, who might think something is wrong if he doesn’t hear from his godson.

He could almost see the cogs working under Uncle Vernon’s thick, dark, neatly parted hair. If he tried to stop Harry writing to Sirius, Sirius would think Harry was being mistreated. If he told Harry he couldn’t go to the Quidditch World Cup, Harry would write and tell Sirius, who would know Harry was being mistreated. There was only one thing for Uncle Vernon to do. Harry could see the conclusion forming in his uncle’s mind as though the great mustached face were transparent.

Remember, the Dursleys think that Harry’s godfather is an escaped murderer (as does the rest of the Wizarding World). The last thing they want is for someone like that to come snooping around their house. So Vernon gives in, just as long as the Weasleys come and pick Harry up.

Harry runs back up to his room, where he sees a tiny owl waiting for him with a note from Ron letting Harry know that his dad was able to get the tickets for the World Cup. They will come pick Harry up on Sunday, whether the Dursleys like it or not. Harry writes back that he is good to go, finishes up his letter to Sirius, and enjoys a nice piece of birthday cake.

It’s always nice when Harry gets to be happy. 🙂

See you next time for Chapter 4!